Dunedin to Queenstown

October 25, 2010

Once we arrived in Dunedin, we found our hotel – a place called Hogwartz Bacpackers. We got there earlier than planned so took a tour of the Cadburry chocolate factory and Speight’s – one of the bigger beer brewers in NZ. We added on dinner at the Speight’s Ale House after which was quite tasty.The next day was quite busy as we had a full day tour booked. After our 8am pickup, we headed along the coast of the peninsula near Dunedin. There we saw Larnach Castle, the only restored castle in the country. Afterwards we headed to the end of the peninsula to the Royal Albatross Center. The tour was a little underwhelming as we didn’t see any birds! (these are endangered birds but 30 pairs breed at this place) Next up was Penguin Place. This is a tour of a private farm where 2 different types of penguins nest. The neat part was they have built covered tunnels with lookouts so you can see the penguins in their nests from as close as 5 meters. We saw several yellow eyed penguins and a few bluue penguins in their nests. After this we did a Monarch Wildlife Cruise. This went by the albatross nesting grounds where we got to see at least 11 birds flying around. We also went by a seal colony and saw a ton of them as well,along with lots of other birds.

The next day we took it easy in the morning beofre going on the scenic Taieri gorge railway with a following bus ride through the central Otago area to get to Queenstown. This was quite a nice area and we want to go back sometime to explore it- including the central Otago rail trail.

The next morning was a 6:30am bus pickup to heaad for Milford Sound. We got to stop several times for photos in the national park along the way. It snowed a bit along the way and was on some winding roads. Once we actually got to Milford it rained the whole time we were there. This was good because we got to see a ton of waterfalls, but bad because we couldnt see much of the surrounding mountains. It was still worth the trip though. On the way back we got dropped off in Te Anau.

The next day we wandered the city until noon when we got picked up for our overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound. This as the best part of the
trip. We took a 30 minute bu followed by an hour boat ride across a lake followed by a 45 minute bus to finally reach the sound. The weather was perfect and the views were amazing. We cruised around the sound for 3 or so hours before dropping anchor. I went kayaking while Cressie did a small boat ride. After about 4 people decided to go for a swim in the water that was only 7C РI was one of those. It was a short swim. This was followed by a 3 course buffet dinner that was the best meal of the trip. After dinner people just hung out and looked at the stars before bed. The next morning started at 7am with the engines turning back on and we spent 3 or so hours riding back to the port. We then got transfered back to Te Anau. We had a while before the bus so watched a short movie on the Fjiiordlands. We then caught the bus back to Queenstown.

The next day we did a jet boat ride on Dart River through Mt Aspiring National Park. The boat ride was fun and it was through a pretty area of the country. This also included a bus ride through some areas and a guided nature walk. This combination took most of the day.

The next day was my birthday so Cressie paid for me to bungi. I jumped from the birthplace of bungi which is from a bridge where you actually get wet in the river below. This was so much fun I did it a second time but I jumped of backwards the second time. Cressie did not jump. That evening we took the gondala to the top of Queentown where we rode the luge twice then ate at the buffet overlooking the city.

This morning we took it easy and just wandered through the gardens and by the lake. We then caught a bus to the airport and started heading home. We are in the Auckland airport now waiting for our connection to LAX. We are both sad to leave but we know we will be back soon.

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